Last week we saw the arrival of a new mobile app from Facebook… sort of. The company’s Slingshot app showed up in the Apple App Store for a few countries, but with no formal announcement. Hours later it was down, and Facebook issued a statement, explaining, “earlier today, we accidentally released a version of Slingshot, a new app we’re working on,” continuing, “it’ll be ready soon and we’re excited for you to try it out.” Well, it looks like Facebook wasn’t kidding about that “soon” bit, and today we see the formal arrival of not only that iOS version of Slingshot, but an Android version, as well.
So what IS Slingshot? You’d be forgiven for writing it off as a Snapchat rip-off, as it’s based around the same core concept: ephemeral messaging. That is, you send a pic or video, the recipient views it, and shortly thereafter it floats off into nothingness.
But Slingshot tries to make a name for itself by working in a response-based caveat. In order to encourage engagement, Facebook requires users to “sling” content of their own back at a user who sends something their way, before they’re able to view it. Want to see that incoming sling? You have to send one yourself first. But will users put up with that restriction, or flock back to the more straightforward Snapchat? Well, we’ll start finding out beginning today.
Slingshot is available now for smartphone users in the US running iOS 7.x or Android Jelly Bean or later.